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Riding on BS-VI, Honda to target developed markets from India

The company says opportunity to tap markets in every country opening up after new emission norms. It currently exports to Nepal, Sri Lanka and countries in Latin America in limited volumes. Planning to launch rural-specific bikes in India.

August 21, 2020 / 05:50 PM IST

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the country’s second-largest two-wheeler manufacturer, will start exporting to developed markets where Bharat Stage VI 9 (BS-VI)-equivalent emission norms are in force.

The switch from BS-IV to BS-VI from April 1 paved the way for companies like Honda to explore markets outside India and tap into the massive retail reach in almost every country.

Speaking to the media, Atsushi Ogata, Managing Director, President & CEO, HMSI, said: “There is demand from other countries. We have BS-VI, which is equivalent to Euro 5, and, therefore, we have a huge opportunity to export everywhere, including advanced countries.”

HMSI is currently exporting to Nepal, Sri Lanka and countries in Latin America in limited volumes. Only 6 percent of Honda’s total production from India gets exported. “In three years, because of BS-VI changeover, we expect exports to be much bigger than today,” added Ogata.

During the April-July period, India’s two-wheeler companies exported 19 percent of their production at 5.19 lakh, as per data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

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Bajaj Auto continued to be the biggest exporter of two-wheelers, exporting half of its production to countries like the US, in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Demand comeback

Like the rest of the industry, HSMI has also seen a strong comeback in demand after the gradual lifting of lockdown. The company has ramped up production significantly, compared to previous months and will keep ramping up to cater to the festive demand.

The company clocked wholesale volumes of 3.09 lakh during July, which was up from zero in April. “Demand is back to pre-COVID levels, and we are ramping up our operations. But there is still some way to go before we get back the growth,”added Ogata.

New product

With consumers shifting preference to economy bikes owing to the fear of using public transport during COVID-19, Honda has started an internal study to bring out new India-specific products targeted at rural markets.

These motorcycles will be more affordable than HMSI’s existing and previous models such as CD110 and Livo.

“We should be able to supply affordable products for the rural segment. Such a product is under study. We do not have a competitive line-up for such customers,” added Ogata.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Aug 21, 2020 05:50 pm
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